“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

For You...

An Irish Blessing

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Deep peace of the shining stars to you.

May the beauties of the earth and sky and sea fill your heart with lasting peace and contentment.

Happy St. Patty's Day from all of us leprechauns here on the farm!

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Dear Spring....Please Come Back!

We have a lot of snow.
A lot.
And I don't believe it is going anywhere for a while.
Wasn't it just 70 degrees about a week ago?

We're all doing just fine with the snow.
It makes chore time take a little longer... 
but what else are we going to do?
Our wings are clipped.

We are going nowhere for now.
It's a great time to get some concentrated knitting done.
Here's what's on the needles now....

It's an infinity scarf with four 16" segments that are each different.

Yesterday I showed you a new barn kitty.
Apparently this fellow's name is Lou.

He's a stray who has also been visiting Dr. Becky's barn.
Looks like Lou will be enjoying shared custody.

Before the snow came, I took the dogs over to the woods
to retrieve the game cameras.
Here is a series of photos that I thought were adorable...

"De-da-de-de-de... just nibbling on some tender green grass shoots."

"Oh, hello, I didn't see you at first."


"Anybody in there?"


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As predicted, the storm hit us.
It snowed and snowed and snowed.
By mid-afternoon yesterday we had 16 inches.

I will spare you the details of just how much snow removal there was to do.
Luckily our long driveway was eventually plowed by a neighbor.

The farm lanes to the barn and animals are passable, but still a little treacherous.
Getting stuck in the snow remains a potential.

When we were not out with the animals,
we spent our day relaxing by the fire.

Snowstorms are the best time to watch the birds.

There were literally hundreds visiting the feeders.

A small flock of fox sparrows sat in a nearby tree.

This was a first for us...we had never seen them here before.
There was another variety of sparrow in the center of this picture....
the one with the yellow spot next to his eye...

a white throated sparrow....also new for us.

The animals all weathered the snowstorm without incident.

The chickens, guineas and turkeys all stayed indoors for the day.
As did the goats.

And the donkeys.

The dogs spent their day doing this...

and this...

All in all it was a wonderful snowy day at home.
I'm sure this snow is going to be around for a while.

We have a new barn resident.
This kitty...

has been occupying the cat...

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Bobby's Ride

This was yesterday.

Today is a whole other story.
I am sure that while you are reading this warm and snug in your house...
I am probably outside shoveling paths for animals to walk...
from their houses to their waters, etc.

Snowfalls, though beautiful, add a whole new layer of work to the daily routine.
I can assure you, there will be a fire burning in the fireplace!

Bobby: "Just trying out a few different rides.  
Gotta figure out my transportation
situation for the next few days!"

MaryAnn seemed more than happy to oblige!

These girls will spend the next few days in their house...
as the snow may end up higher than their backs!

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A Story's End

I am afraid I owe you the ending to a story.
It's a story that I have avoided telling.
I hate to tell stories of the brutal side of nature...
but it's important to be honest.

You might remember that about a year ago our two farm friends Maggie and Macy
brought us four young white chickens.... sex unknown.

It wasn't long until we realized that we had 4 roosters.
And the fun began.

All was peaceful amongst the boys until the day that that awful testosterone got the best of them.
Wars ensued.
Then floggings became a way of life for us lowly farm workers.

The peace of the farm was gone.
Roosters had to be locked up when visitors came for fear of floggings.
It got uglier and uglier.
And I stopped writing about it.

Well.... months have passed and in the interim, we had to say goodbye to two of the boys.
Of the four, there were two who just refused to get along with anyone...
not chicken, nor man, nor beast.

Long story short... two of the boys are now crowing their hearts out in that big henhouse in the sky.

Peace once again prevails on the farm,
and we no longer live in fear of the "stomp, stomp, stomp" sound
that had once signaled the approach of a flogging rooster.

The two boys that remain each have...

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It seems of late that I have been quite fortunate to be at the right place at the right time...
with respect to nature.
It's so wonderful that after all these years Mother Earth still has the ability 
to surprise and delight me.
Yesterday as I was driving to town alongside our beautiful local river,
I was treated to sight I had never before had.

A flock of swans had settled on our river.
It seemed there were hundreds of them.
Sadly I did not have my camera, though.
Luck was on my side, however, because when I returned home, grabbed my camera,
and drove back to the river...

they were still there.
Morning photos would have been far superior... but sometime you have to take what you get!

On the way home from the river I drove alongside our local creek
and saw a couple pairs of common mergansers...

also something I had never seen before.
This large, shy member of the duck family is apparently quite common...
so why have I never seen one before?
The male...

and female...

are quite dissimilar in appearance.
Isn't nature amazing?

Meanwhile back at the farm...

it was a beautiful, but cold and windy, day.
The wind is good... it will help to dry up all of the moisture from the melting snow.

While I was out...

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Snowlong, Snow!

One week later and our snow is all but gone.

In its place is a quagmire of muck and mud...
the kind of mud that tries its best to suck the boots right off your feet.

There are little rivers running all over the farm...

and puddles standing everywhere.

The ground is completely saturated.
Given a little time, sunshine, and spring breezes, the ground will once again
dry and Spring will burst forth in all her verdant glory.
And I can hardly wait!
Oh, I am so eager to get my fingers into the earth once again.
I am still waiting for the completion of the garden boxes so that I can amend the soil
and begin planting.
Normally I would have sugar peas planted by now!

I've been spending these (once again) warmer days doing some clean-up chores.
Yesterday afternoon I worked on the pig yard.

There is still a good deal of snow in this one area of the farm as it is on a northern slope.

Can you tell where the treat corner is?

There is a little piggy highway leading right to the treat mailbox.
No matter the weather, these girls still find their way out to the corner
for their beloved Ritz crackers!

While I was cleaning up pig manure, somebody was trying to get my attention through
the bushes...

The poor equines are...

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How To Attain Great Popularity....

I was never what you what you would call a "popular" girl.
I was the girl next door...never the prom queen.

Time has a way of turning the tables, however...
and now I am wildly popular.
Everywhere I go, these days, I am followed by an entourage...

How does one attain such high social standing?
Well, here it is in 5 easy steps.

1.  Order a handful (or more) of chicks (chickens or turkeys)

2. Buy or build a structure to house these chicks as they grow into fine young ladies.

3. Offer a constant source of clean water and nutritionally complete food.

4. Maintain good (coop) housekeeping.

5. Serve delectable treats often.

Follow the above 5 simple steps and you will have your very own entourage.
Everywhere you go you, too, will have friends "flocking" to you!

And... fresh eggs as a bonus!

PS:  I'm considering wearing a tiara now as I go about daily chores.

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Spring, Spring, Where Art Thou, Oh Spring?

About three weeks ago, Spring, in her lovely green gown
and sweet fragrant breath,
came softly tiptoeing to the farm.
She teased us with her presence...
assuring us that winter had left and she was here in his place.

But, like Spring can be at this time of year...
a little cunning and mischievous...
she disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.

Now the calendar says March 20th.
 Spring is supposed to be arriving at 6:29 AM
and unpacking her trunks of her colorful finery.
And yet, she's nowhere to be found.

And winter lingers on....

Still, there's hope in the air.
You can hear it every morning as the sun rises and the bluebirds sing their songs.
The songbirds have returned and are busily building nests.
The air will warm a little each day as we tear pages from the calendar.
The days themselves are lengthening.
She's close... she's on her way... right around the corner!

I'll get her room prepared so that she can settle in quickly upon arrival.

Spring, oh, Spring....you tease us so...
and make us wait...
with butterflies of excitement.

You're a vixen and you're fickle...
and yet we cannot help but adore you
and welcome you with open arms!

Feel free to join us here on our "snoasis"!

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Another Visit

After yesterday's comments, I realized that many of you 
wondered how we get the sheep poop out of the wool.

Well, the good news is that the soiled wool is confined 
to the butt and belly and legs of the sheep.
The most usable part of the sheep's wool is the saddle
(the wool on the back and sides of the sheep).

We pick through the wool that is sheared from the sheep...
pulling out the highly soiled fibers.
Part of the milling process is washing the wool.
Washing removes the lanolin and also any debris or poop that might still be in the fleece.

Yesterday morning we realized that we had had a visitor
the previous night.
Mr. Bear has returned.
He ransacked our porch, turning over the wooden chest that houses our birdseed.
He also ripped down and tore apart one of our bird feeders that hangs from the deck railing.

Needless to say, all three game cameras are positioned around the deck.
I'm gonna get a photo of that ole bear if it's the last thing I do!

Lastly, I am happy to say that Spring has definitely arrived.
The forsythia is just beginning to bloom and leaves are starting to open.

Although it's muddy as can be... our beautifully colorful season is just around the corner!
I've been thinking a lot...

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All In A Day

Spring weather arrived yesterday and we all had something to crow about!

There is something rejuvenating about blue skies and sunshine, isn't there?

We are still in the midst of mud season...
but with a little time, things will dry up and become beautiful.
I can hardly wait!

Growing season is here!

The sheep are scheduled for their yearly shearing in two weeks.

They will be so happy to shed their thick wooly fleeces...
and I will be so happy to have more homegrown wool to work with!

Hubbs and I cleaned the winter's muck from inside the sheep houses yesterday afternoon.
That has got to be the stinkiest job on the entire farm.
Sheep really are filthy.
They have a bad habit of pooping where they sleep.

During the summer, it's no problem as they sleep outdoors...
but in the winter....
yuck.... in their houses!

Just wait until you see the difference in these girls after shearing!

I had a pretty creative day yesterday, both in the kitchen and in my craft room.
I baked peanut butter (chunky) cupcakes and frosted half with butter cream
frosting and bacon
(you have not lived until you have had bacon on buttercream...
the perfect blend of sweet and savory....
And half were frosted with dark...

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A Letter From Camp

(Fat Camp, that is.)

"Dear Friends,
Please, oh, please send food.
We've been at this Fat Camp now for three weeks and we're not impressed.

Every morning we have the same low-cal breakfast.
(Hay that has been soaked overnight to remove the soluble carbohydrates.)

Then we head out for morning calisthenics.
And just to make sure that we don't grab any illegal snacks, we have to wear
this ridiculous headgear.

(This photo was taken weeks ago...while Daphne was still quite stout!)
Mid afternoon, we have a small snack.
It sure seems that our snack might be made of the same stuff 
of which our breakfast was made.

We do get a delicious treat of vitamins and minerals each day,
and we look forward to that.
It smells and tastes delicious... like dessert.
But we're pretty sure it's diet dessert, cause there's never enough of it to fill us up.

After snack time, we get lots of hugs and kisses, ear scratches, and tummy tickles....
which we really like.
But, if we were given a choice, we would rather have something more to eat.

Finally, before bedtime we get another big meal and more hugs and kisses.
It sure seems a lot like the same stuff we had for breakfast and snack, but
we don't care.
This meal is big like...

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The Shortest Distance

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Just ask Ethel!

She was hanging out in the donkey yard yesterday afternoon
when the sudden urge to lay hit her.

Rather than duck under the fence and run around the turkey house,
she, instead, decided to hop on top of the fence

and make a bee-line over the top of the turkey yard to the front door.

"No Ethel, don't jump...it's just not that bad!"

Domestic turkeys are not good fliers at all.
They flap their wings and hop at best.

Their wings are good for slowing down their descent as they jump from a high place.
Edith lept and clumsily floated down to the grass by her door.

She stopped for a little snack of fresh spring grass...

before settling down on her nest and getting on with the task at hand.

Voila! .... her daily offering!

Have I told you that turkey eggs are my favorite?
They are wonderfully yummy... like a large, rich chicken egg....
the perfect high energy breakfast for tackling a long chore list.

As for the donkeys...
I have had to stop putting their hay in the slow-feed bag
because chubby Daphne chases Chloe away!

At the time of this writing, they were no longer speaking to each other...
taking a little break from each other...

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So. Much. Fun!

The most amazing weekend has come to a close,
and I find myself filled with immense gratitude.
for the love of family and friends...
and for all of you who stop by to visit each day and offer your love and support.
My birthday was The. Best. Ever!

Before I tell you about it...
I have to first tell you that I am so happy that you had a chance to meet
the love of my life... "Hubbs."
And, I have to tell you.... he bet me that he would get 37 comments on his blog post...
and he got 48 comments...
beating my all time high by a mile!
Thanks so much for the positive reinforcement.
I am sure he will be back from time to time.

Now do you understand why I say that I am just about the luckiest gal in the world?
He truly is a rare and precious treasure!

So.... here are the past three days encapsulated:

Friday evening Hubbs threw a surprise party for me at one of my favorite restaurants.

And he really did a great job...
inviting so many of my favorite people...

and picking out delicious food for a buffet.

So. Much. Fun!

Saturday we decided (on the spur of the moment) to join our friends in attending
a fundraiser for a local man with ALS.
It was an adult "Prom."
Tim and Amanda spent the weekend at the...

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Hubbs Writes....

Many of you have known me as “Hubbs.” 

I am the clearly lesser half of the Beehaven Acres Farm Team.   As I near my retirement, Bev has asked me to contribute a blog now and then.  I agreed only if she could help me upload it and agree to no editing power.  That second demand made her a little nervous, but she reluctantly agreed.   
Here we go...

First, a disclaimer.  
If I started a blog of my own, by Thursday of the first week,
I would have nothing left to say.

This is in contradistinction to Bev, the Beehaven Maven we share.  She has an amazing ability to find content and context that is worth reading, then writes it in a way that is entertaining, inspiring, humorous, and informative.  She also acts as the staff photographer.  She does this EVERY DAY. 

Her first blog was on March 1st, 2006.  She has written 2,298 blog posts since that time. To those of you who also write daily blogs, we mere mortals are duly impressed. 

Yesterday was a typical day.  Let me map this out for you.  Timeline:

3:45:  she says, “Mmmm, I don’t have a blog for tomorrow.”

3:47:  Out with the dogs to find some pictures.

4:00:  Returns with some great shots and the dogs.

4:01:  Downloads the pictures

4:02:  Asks...

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Countdown to Sixty

Ten years ago, tomorrow, I turned 50,
jumped out of an airplane 12,000 feet above the earth
 and jumped right into the second half of my life.

How could I know, as my parachute (and the large man on my back)
carried me over the sheep farms of New Zealand,
where the years ahead would take me!

The past ten years have been filled with so much activity...
so much love and fun...
the icing on the cake for this wonderful and full life I have lived.

I have no idea how it happened that 60 years of my life has passed.
(And I know my Mom would say she can't believe she has a daughter who is 60!)

Most people view time in a linear manner...
like a timeline with a starting point and an eventual endpoint....
somewhere way down the line.

I have always considered time to be circular...
like a Slinky!

Surely you had a Slinky at some point in your childhood...
or perhaps your children had one.
A Slinky, like a big long spring, has a beginning point and an end.
However all of the distance between the beginning and end is placed repetitively in a 
circular manner.

To me, each circle is a year of my life...
with January being at the top.
A year progresses like a clock... around the circle and back to the top...

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Life in Balance

It's an incredibly rainy day as I sit and write this (Thursday),
so forgive me for waxing philosophical.

I have been filling my head with garden plans...
this year's plantings will be done with more intention than in the past.

I am trying companion planting this year.
That is... planting certain species with certain other species as a way 
of giving them a more symbiotic relationship.

Certain plants help protect other plants from pests.

And some species encourage a healthier growth of other species.
Nature has a natural order... a balance.

My source for planning this year's layout is this book:

It's fascinating... and I am learning so very much.
I am hoping that this year will be the best garden year yet.
If it is not, it certainly will not be from a lack of trying!

Here is where the philosophical takes over...
(blame the rain)

I read, yesterday, that the EPA has rolled back its ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos.
The EPA had initiated a ban on this Dow Chemical produced pesticide
due to health risks in children.  By November of 2017 it was to finalize this ban.
However, the EPA in it's present de-regulating frenzy has decided to allow this
chemical to be used by our agricultural industry.


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The Overnight Appearance of Green

Yesterday was a spectacular Spring day here on the farm!

The daffodils are blooming in the front pasture,
and the forsythia is blossoming around the old log cabin.

The grass has turned green overnight.
Oh how I have longed for the bright green of Spring!
Pretty soon the trees will follow suit.

Everyone seemed to enjoy basking in the sunshine...

Poor Sam had a harrowing morning.
At dawn when we were going out for morning chores,
he encountered a bear on our back deck and chased it off into our woods.
Sam might be a little goofy at times but he is definitely my protector...
my knight in furry armor... fearless and brave!

With the arrival of warmer weather, the sheep spend their daylight hours in the shade
of their little grove.

Yesterday was supposed to be shearing day, however
there was a scheduling conflict...
so shearing has been moved to the end of the week.
(if the weather holds out..... rain forecasted)

So, since the sheep didn't get sheared,
I decided to get myself sheared instead...
much cooler for summer.

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Rainy Day Projects

I took full advantage of yesterday's rainy morning
and worked on some projects that have been floating around my brain.

Of course I had plenty of help... 

because, what project is ever complete without at least one kitty monopolizing
the workspace!

Every year I try to find different plant markers for my garden.
This year I decided to make these...

I had lots of bamboo from Dr. Becky's bamboo grove.
The plant names are stenciled on wooden shims.
The shims are lashed onto the bamboo with jute.
(which you can buy in a package, cheap, from any lumber yard)
(you could use paint sticks if you had lots of them as well)

I made enough yesterday to place where I had already planted seeds.
Sugar Peas....

(By the way, I will be planting carrots, beets and radishes behind the green trellis fencing,
as sugar peas do well when planted with these root veggies.)

Several varieties of onions and lettuce....

Another box has radishes that were planted as well.
I'll be making more markers as I plant more seeds in the coming weeks.
Of course, everyone was curious as to what I was doing.

By the time I stuck the finished markers in the ground,
the rain began again.

We are to have a fair amount of rain this week.
Sadly, that...

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We are in the midst of a string of incredibly beautiful Spring days...
and my heart is singing!

There is nothing more wonderful than to lie in the middle of the pasture...
with lush green grass all around.

The sights, the smells, the sounds...
almost indescribable.

I hear birdsongs that have been absent for so many months.

The sun is warm, the breeze is gentle.

I cannot imagine that heaven could be any better than this...
right here, right now.

My heart is nearly overflowing with gratitude....
for this moment, this life, these gentle souls that surround me.

I took some time to just take it all in...
watching chickens and goats go about their day.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the moment.
That's the thing about dogs...

they appreciate the small things... soft grass, warm sun, a moment of peace on a sunny Spring day.
We should all be more like dogs.

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It is sunny, 80 degrees and I am up to my elbows in garden soil and compost.
Let me hear you say "AMEND!" brothers and sisters!

(Gracie and her girls just gave a resounding "AMEN!"...
they are so happy to be shorn in this hot weather!)

Our garden soil is in pretty good shape...
rocks removed, no weeds coming up (yet).
Some of our boxes I have amended with composted manure...
as some plants (such as leeks) require extremely rich soil.
Leeks pull a ton of nutrients out of the soil, so it is recommended to bury
a layer of composted manure several inches beneath the soil.

Hubbs (our Manure Manager) used the tractor to scoop a load of our oldest compost...

and dumped it into the back of the gator...
which I drove into the garden.

When we planned the new garden boxes,
we made sure to make aisles that were wide enough to accommodate the Gator
and our mowers.
Eventually there will be grass growing between and around the boxes.

I dug deep into the soil, removed the rocks...
dumped in the compost...

raked soil back over the compost....
planted the leeks (which had been previously started from seed.

So far I have planted: radishes, beets, carrots sweet potatoes and scallions from seed.
Red and yellow...

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Sheep Shearing

Yesterday was sheep-shearing day...
and it came not a minute too soon.

Temperatures have climbed to 80 degrees this week...
no longer wool coat weather!

With the help of a pack of Ritz crackers,
we walked the sheep up to the barn about a half hour before our shearer was to arrive.

Luckily, these three will follow me anywhere...
as long as I have a pack of Ritz crackers.

They waited patiently in an empty stall...

then each took her turn getting the perfect sheeply makeover.

It's amazing how much wool these gals produced in one year's time.

It's also amazing how chubby they remain even without their fleeces!

After all the gals were shorn
we ended up with a huge bag of fleece.

The shearer took the fleeces to the mill where they will be washed,
carded and spun into thick, luscious core spun yarn.

With Ritz in hand, we made the trek back to the sheep yard.
These three look like totally different animals now...
and so clean!
If only they would stay that way.

By the way...
on the way back to the sheep yard we stopped to have a snack.

All three girls ate as many Ritz crackers as they could in the shortest time.
This is quite unusual, especially for Hope...
who hardly ever eats one whole cracker.
We concluded...

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Personal Training At Its Best

Anyone who has ever been on a weight loss program knows...
that an essential part of the program is exercise.

It is almost impossible to lose weight without increasing your level of exercise.

Exercise boosts your metabolism...
helping to burn those calories more efficiently.

Sometimes, however, it is difficult to motivate oneself towards making the exercise commitment.
This is where a personal trainer can make all of the difference!

Here on the farm we have our own personal trainer.

Her favorite game of all is "catch me if you can"...
and the equines are always more than happy to participate.
The donkeys call this game "stomp the would-be-predator".

Annie crouches down on her front legs and barks and off they all go running and chasing.
With most dogs I would worry about the safety of the dog,
but with Annie... no worries.
She is the most agile, athletic dog I have ever met.
She runs and spins and turns on a dime...
and never ever gets caught.

She challenges the donkeys and they seem to love the challenge.
And the calories melt away... in fun!

The donkey weight loss program is going very well.
I have noticed a big difference around their waistlines and hips.
The crests of their necks are...

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Nabisco....Please Send Ritz Crackers!

Each and every time the pigs hear one of us in the vicinity,
they run to this corner of their yard.

It's become their favorite place...
and where you can find them just about any time... rain or shine.


I installed this metal mailbox on top of the fence post
and keep it filled with Ritz crackers at all times.
(Nabisco loves us... and they don't even know it!)

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night
keeps these porcine princesses from their appointed snacks!"

Ginger and MaryAnn love their snacks....
more so than any other animal on the farm.
Pigs, you see, lack the ability to ever feel satiated.
They are, in essence, always hungry.
Luckily these two are herbivores and are content to munch on grass and hay.
But snacks....
oh those wonderful Ritz crackers....
are oh, so yummy!!
(And no "no-frills" imitation will satisfy these girls!)

Just see.....

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Will You?

"Will you, oh, will you....
pleathe be our Valentine?"
(said with a mouth full of hay!)

We've got so much love to share...

and we'd love to share it with YOU! 
Just so you know...
all love comes with a healthy dose of mud!

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us romantics here on the farm.

Yesterday I ran to our little local meat stand to pick up something
that I did not already have in the freezer.
(You might remember the last time I went...
I captured those photos of the Short Eared Owl that I saw along the way.)
This time, in that very same field, I spied something on the ground...
way in the distance...

Luckily I had my zoom lens on my camera...

What a handsome guy.

We often see bald eagles along our river...
but only occasionally will we see one hunting in the fields.

Yesterday while collecting eggs,
I noticed a small white one amongst the usual brown and occasional green.

White ones are quite rare, as I have only one chicken who lays white eggs.
Minnie Pearl is a black and gold Polish crested chicken who is 8 years old.

On rare days she pops out a little white egg for me.
Thanks, Minnie!!  You go girl!

And finally, I finished my last cowl (for now)...and it's my favorite yet.
I added a thin strand...

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What Month Is It, Anyway?

Another glorious day was given to us yesterday.
Temperatures reached around 60 degrees in the afternoon...
making outside work delightful.
This was our beautiful little valley as the sun rose...

I worked on de(con)structing our vegetable garden.
It's kind of sad, after these last few years of wonderful garden harvests,
to say goodbye to the present garden.

The upside of all this tearing down is the fact that there is a new garden in the works.
By planting time we will have new garden boxes in a new configuration.
Oh what garden fun I will have this Spring!

I also gave the grape arbor a rather severe haircut.
I removed two whole gator loads of excess vine.
Let's hope this warm weather does not force the vines to put out buds too early!
I also worry about our fruit trees for the same reason.

As usual, while I toiled...
the animals enjoyed the sunshine and napped.

Everyone napped.

And napped.

And napped.
He's such an angel...when he sleeps!

Even my sidekick, Sam, took a snooze...

while sitting in the gator.

After months of grey, chilly days,
a sunny day is heavenly...
even to the animals!

I have to admit...
I am just a little jealous!

It looks like more of the same for today!

PS:  that huge egg I showed you...

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A February Gift

Oh my goodness!
What a splendid weekend we had...
with sunny skies and temperatures reaching the upper 60's.

We basked in the warmth of the sunlight.
What a gift to receive in the middle of February...
and it is supposed to remain in the 50's (plus) through the coming week.

It finally dried out enough for the horses to spend the morning in the upper pasture.

When we designed the fences for the upper pasture, we divided the space
into four equal pastures.... four squares within one large square.

Each contiguous pasture can be connected to it's neighboring pasture,
by opening two gates and chaining them to the fence across from them.

This enables us to turn the four pastures into one large pasture.

Yesterday we opened two of the pastures and allowed the horses access to both.

Amazingly, as soon as we let them go in the pasture,
they headed straight for the opening into the neighboring pasture.
I swear the first thing they do upon entering any given pasture is
to make a perimeter check to see if any of the gates have been left open.

"FREEDOM!!!".... I am sure is what goes through their crazy horse brains!
It was obvious they were happy to have their space enlarged, 
because they ran and...

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All We Need Is Love

Have you had a chance to look at the evening sky this winter?
Have you noticed how bright Venus is in the early evening hours?
It's bigger and brighter than I have ever noticed.

I think it's a sign.
I think Venus (the Goddess of Love) is telling us we need more love.
With the world's turmoil, I am inclined to agree!

And so... in order to spread a little love around
(and believe me we have plenty of it to spread)...
I am dedicating this post to my two special love muffins...
the porcine princesses!

When I was a little girl...
if anyone had asked me what animal I desired more than any...
I would have replied, "A pig!"

If only I had known in those days that someday my dream would actually come true...
I would have wished for nothing else in life and would just have been content in the knowledge
that piggie love would eventually be mine!

And the wonderful thing is...
I can share that piggie love with you!

So here you are....
a little look back at the lives of Ginger and MaryAnn...

It's hard to believe they were ever this small....
the size of a kitten when we brought them home.

Oh my, and then there was Tyler...also small!!

Our sweet Maddie (no longer with us) was the consummate babysitter.

Walking with a...

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Wrestling Match

The pictures for this post were taken over the span of an hour
as I cleaned the front pasture yesterday afternoon.
You'll notice that the weather pattern is quite erratic...
snow one moment, sunshine another.

That's pretty much the way it has been around here lately.
It's as if Winter and Spring have been involved in a wrestling match...
each gaining control a day or two at a time.

By this weekend it is to be back up into the high 50's...continuing on into next week.
And yet...we still have a little snow on the ground.
It's been a weird winter.

Nonetheless, the chores go on...
no matter the weather.

As I drove the gator around the pasture, Sammy rode shotgun.

He stayed in that seat for a whole hour...
I presume he was too tired to walk.

Yup.  Exhausted!

Oakley, my old man has quite the developed olfactory sense
and like a pig hunts for truffles, he moves about through the pasture...
nose to the ground...

sniffing out piles of manure.

And with a discriminating palate, he taste-tests them as well.

Annie, as always, keeps watch over the pasture.
You never know when a bunny or squirrel will enter the territory and need to be chased.

After a morning of pasture exercise, the horses are taking their...

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